Part of a human foot found floating in a shoe in Yellowstone National Park’s Abyss Pool about three months ago belonged to a 70-year-old Los Angeles man who died in an unspecified incident, authorities said Thursday.
In the last three weeks, DNA analysis matched the foot to Il Hun Ro, park officials said. His family has been notified.
On Aug. 16, a park staffer in August found the body part in the Abyss Pool, a well-known hot spring in Yellowstone’s West Thumb Geyser Basin in northwestern Wyoming, the National Park Service said.
“The investigation determined, to the best of our knowledge, that an unwitnessed incident involving one individual happened on the morning of July 31 … and no foul play occurred,” park officials said. “Based on a lack of evidence, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ro remain unknown.”
The National Park Service’s investigation has concluded, and officials did not have additional information to share Thursday.
The Abyss Pool plunges more than 50 feet and is one of the deepest hot springs in Yellowstone, according to the park service. Its temperature is about 140 degrees.
Yellowstone officials said visitors should use extreme caution around hot springs and other thermal features, and should stay on boardwalks and trails.
The ground around hydrothermal areas of the park is thin and fragile, and scalding water lies just below the surface.
Visitors have been severely burned and killed in Yellowstone’s geothermal areas.
On Oct. 4, 2021, a 20-year-old woman from Washington suffered significant burns from her shoulders to her feet when she tried to rescue her dog from Maiden’s Grave Spring, park officials said. The water in the spring reaches 200 degrees.
The woman was transported to a burn center, and the dog died.
Weeks earlier, on Sept. 16, a 19-year-old woman from Rhode Island suffered second- and third-degree burns to 5% of her body in the Old Faithful area.
And on June 7, 2016, 23-year-old Colin Scott of Portland, Ore., walked off a boardwalk, slipped and fell into a hot spring at Norris Geyser Basin and died, officials said.
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